Working with registration data
7.4 Registration and assistance management
  • Registration data is a key information source for designing and implementing assistance programmes for individuals, households and communities. It provides the aggregate population data needed for situation analysis and assessment and, together with other relevant sources, enables the targeting of assistance delivery, including food, shelter, energy, WASH, healthcare, education services and cash-based interventions.

    Registration data also provides the basis for identity management during assistance distribution. Individuals are verified against their registration record at the point of distribution, ensuring that only eligible individuals access the assistance. Registration data also allows for assistance tracking, with records of those receiving assistance updated after each distribution, ensuring accountability and reconciliation. (See below: Assistance Management Tools).

    As such, registration staff support assistance management in a number of ways, including:

    • Supporting the identification of individuals most in need of assistance based on registration data analysis;
    • Preparing registration data for assistance activities, for example, exporting data to the Global Distribution Tool (GDT) to enable identity management at distribution;
    • Establishing a litigation desk at assistance distribution to address technical issues on the spot, ensuring no eligible person is left without assistance. Litigation desks also ensure the opportunity is not missed to record and update declared changes to registration records, and refer individuals to urgent protection interventions, as per SOPs.

    For assistance activities related to food security for persons of concern, the 2011 MoU between UNHCR and WFP, complemented by the Cash Addendum (May 2017)  the Joint Principles on Targeting (December 2017) and the Data Sharing Addendum (September 2018) establish areas of cooperation between UNHCR and WFP, namely in the area of preparedness planning, joint assessment of the eligibility of refugees and returnees for food assistance, the composition of the food basket or cash equivalent and the modality of the assistance to be distributed.

Assistance management tools

  • UNHCR has developed tools to facilitate assistance management processes and ensure their integrity. The Global Distribution Tool (GDT) is UNHCR’s corporate tool for identity management and assistance tracking at the point of assistance distribution.7 The GDT is part of the PRIMES Biometrics portfolio, enabling a crucial distribution-focused functionality to operations using biometrics.

    The GDT draws on registration data to manage attendance and distribution of assistance in food, NFI and cash-in-hand scenarios. The GDT uses UNHCR biometrics to verify refugee identities during distribution, speeding up the process and at the same time minimizing avenues for fraud and preventing unauthorised collection. The GDT also allows for better management of information with built-in reports that can be easily generated, including on who has collected assistance and which commodities have been distributed. This information then feeds back to proGres, helping to maintain the accuracy of registration data, together with other information recorded, such as presence/ absence and data changes updated at the point of distribution. The GDT is also used by UNHCR’s partners, including governments and other UN Agencies.

    CashAssist is UNHCR’s corporate tool for cash assistance management, integrated with proGres and a component of PRIMES. CashAssist provides a transparent platform for UNHCR and partners to create and send secured payment instructions to financial service providers. It draws on registration data in proGres and feeds financial and other data from the assistance activity back to proGres, e.g. the cash amount, forms of payment and other payment information, presence or absence of individuals and certain other changes declared and recorded in the CashAssist application. In this way, the CashAssist tool also helps maintain the accuracy of registration records.

    7 The GDT can also be used for attendance tracking in other scenarios, for example, managing resettlement departures, biometrically checking refugees off departure lists, as well for medical services, ensuring the correct individuals are being treated and also providing a secure way to report back to UNHCR and partners on who has been served.

Targeting for assistance

  • Targeting is a process that aims to ensure that persons of concern are supported with the most appropriate interventions to address their needs, reinforce their capacities, and exercise their rights. Registration data provides an important overview of the demographic, geographic, specific needs and other characteristics of the population of concern and should be a key data source when considering different targeting approaches and defining targeting criteria.8 There are three main targeting approaches applied in UNHCR operations, each making differentiated use of registration data:

    8 In combination with other sources, e.g. socio-economic assessments, protection monitoring and other relevant available data.

  • Administrative targeting is where an administrative party (e.g. UNHCR) not directly representing the community or individuals of concern, defines the eligibility criteria and carries out the targeting process. For example, UNHCR, another UN agency or partner or a government entity may define the eligibility criteria and carry out the targeting process. Administrative targeting is used for RSD, resettlement and some cash-based interventions. Administrative targeting can also be adopted to support risk-prevention objectives, for example, identifying groups and individuals at risk of child labour. Geographical targeting and demographic targeting are forms of administrative targeting that are based on a combination of data elements, many of which are found in the biodata of individual records in proGres (e.g. address, age, gender, dependency ratio, specific needs).

    Community-based targeting is a targeting method in which a group of community members or community leaders decide who in the community should benefit. Where possible, communities define the eligibility criteria based on information they possess as well as information provided to them by UNHCR and other stakeholders. This process is then validated through the collection of additional data or verified through existing data. In participatory approaches, communities may be involved in generating the lists of persons of concern that can be cross-checked and validated by the implementing agency.

    Self-targeting, or self-selection, does not involve the active selection of participants, but relies on programme incentives and conditions to motivate the population to participate. In order to receive targeted assistance, willing participants must express their interest by participating in a programme. Voluntary repatriation is an example of self-targeting. Self-targeting is also utilized in educational programmes, for example high school graduates self-referring to a scholarship programme coordinated by UNHCR.

    WFP and UNHCR have established joint principles for targeting assistance to meet food and other basic needs to persons of concern and have undertaken to collaborate on targeting activities including jointly developing eligibility criteria. The two agencies also undertake to share information and results between them when a targeting activity is conducted by one or other agency alone.

    Geographical targeting: this is targeting method utilizing geographic location to determine eligibility for inclusion in a programme such that people living in a designated area are eligible and those living elsewhere are not. (definition from targeting guidelines.

    Demographic targeting: This is a targeting method based on, inter alia, age, gender, and/or disability, with the most common programmes being child allowances and social pensions (definition from targeting guidelines).